Growing up in the sleepy city of Plano, Illinois, Cole Bennett and his infatuation for the Chicago rap scene has become one of the biggest talking points in the world of hip-hop. His dedication to broadcasting underground sounds in America is very inspiring for anyone looking into a career in the media; the authenticity ‘Lyrical Lemonade’ has galvanised through low budget video productions, interviews and gigs is very admirable for someone who is only 23. The videographer is definitely someone we looked up to when starting Repeat, and his story is one that should be shared as inspiration for anyone looking to start up an independent venture into the music industry.
He started off by making music videos for friends and local rappers and eventually started a blog to use as a base for his creative work. The genius name of ‘Lyrical Lemonade’ was thought up by his mum while they were in the kitchen brainstorming names for his blog. After the name was made he had a brand which he was able to spread through stickers and word of mouth to his class-mates. The name of ‘Lyrical Lemonade’ was already recognisable when Bennett was still at school. To this day Bennett has a tattoo of the exact coordinates where he thought of lyrical lemonade in his study hall.
To expand his platform he decided host shows at local venues which held no more than 300 people. He started off with free shows which filled out the venues. By his 5th show he had Philadelphia rapper Lil Uzi Vert booked at one of his shows, who had a small fan base at the time. Within the two months between him being booked and him playing at the show, Lil Uzi Vert’s trajectory skyrocketed and the show sold out as a result. This was a pivotal moment and, as it would for anyone, got Bennett extremely excited for the future of his brand.
He continued to generate low budget music videos with artists such as Famous Dex, and in time came to recognize how much was changing in the world of hip-hop music videos. High budget music videos were becoming less common and less popular and Bennett used this and innovated the aesthetic of modern hip-hop videos. A new hip-hop sub-genre of ‘Soundcloud rap’ was emerging, as a result of this Cole Bennett found himself hanging out with rappers, such as Ski Mask The Slump God, Smokepurpp and Lil Pump and being interviewed by magazines such as Rolling Stone.
After time had passed and his company had built, Bennett was contacted by Quavo from the Migos, who asked him to fly over to Atlanta and shoot a video for them. The video unfortunately ended up getting shelved however Bennett chose to progress past this with his head held high and still ended up shooting videos for names such as Wiz Khalifa, a childhood hero of his.
Cole Bennett also had many inspirations along his venture with Lyrical Lemonade. He maintained a close relationship with Mac Miller, who’s ‘Welcome to America’ video heavily inspired some of his video editing techniques. He met with Rick Ruben, who’s simplistic style, outlook on life and life’s accomplishments energized him to achieve similar goals. He said that he sees Famous Dex and his early cooperation as a real reason for the success of Lyrical Lemonade.
Cole Bennett himself has now become a huge inspirational figure. He chose a heavily dismissed and controversial scene to broadcast, risky, but optimism overruled the pessimism. He has changed the way people view music, exposing a scene that was originally scrutinised by the music industry. He has set a trend for creating personal experiences with artists who are more inclined to work with independent companies than major labels and given the world of underground creativity another shot at influencing the media. Lyrical Lemonade has still got a long and bright future ahead. Bennett has said how he wants to create a ‘new MTV’. He recently dropped his new clothing range, alongside canned lemonade. Lyrical Lemonade is also hosting an upcoming festival; ‘Summer Smash’, with a mad line up (shown below).
Make sure to also check out his website and YouTube channel as all of his videos are a madness.